ahiya became the new DUSU president, beating Chetna Tyagi of National Students’ Union of India by a record 19,039 votes while registering a vote share of 55.8%. Dahiya is also the youngest DUSU candidate to win the top central post.
Overall, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed ABVP repeated its 2018 performance in winning three central panel posts, while the Congress-supported NSUI bagged the secretary’s post.
NSUI, meanwhile, failed to arrest the group’s downslide. Its presidential candidate got the lowest vote share (20%) by an NSUI candidate for the post in 15 years.
The elections, however, failed to interest students as polling percentage dipped to 39.9%, a drop of 4.6 percentage points from last year. It went below the 40% mark only for the second time since 2012. Nota votes also rose to 13% of the total polling.
Dahiya described ABVP’s continued good showing as the victory of “nationalist ideology of the parishad”. With Dahiya’s supporters cheering along with slogans such as “dekho dekho kaun aaya, Dahiya sher aaya”, the former wrestler said he would work to promote sports in the university.
ABVP’s Akshit Dahiya, Pradeep Tanwar and Shivangi Kharwal (L to R, garlanded) celebrate their victory in the DUSU elections
After setback, NSUI to go back to drawing board
Immediately after the announcement of the results, Dahiya, a first-year law faculty student, said: “Other countries support sports from the university level. As I am a former sportsman, I want to make sports a priority and make sure that by 2024 we have several sportsmen from DU who represent India in the Olympics.”
NSUI, hoping to woo women students, had fielded a woman for the top post after a gap of 12 years. However, Tyagi could not turn the tide for her group polling just 10,646 votes as against Dahiya’s 29,685 votes.
After the defeat, NSUI said it will review its continued loss in the DUSU elections. “There is an environment in the country of fake nationalism which the ABVP employed and swayed students. We on the other hand focused on student-centric issues and good facilities for them. We do not play on nationalism to create a divide in the campus,” said Neeraj Mishra, NSUI’s media-in-charge.
As supporters celebrated the win with drums, Union ministers and senior leaders of BJP took to twitter to congratulate the organisation on the win.
Union home minister Amit Shah tweeted, “I congratulate all workers of ABVP for the grand victory in Delhi University Students’ Union elections. This victory is not only proof of the unflinching belief in nationalism of our youth but also a proof of how committed new India is towards nation building.”
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman also tweeted, “Congratulations @ABVPVoice on your performance in #DUSUElection2019. You shall lead the youth of this country with a sense of national unity and duty towards our nation as the guiding principles. Well done.”
ABVP’s vice president candidate Pradeep Tanwar also recorded a comfortable victory defeating NSUI’s Dalit face, Ankit Bharti, by a margin of 8,574 votes.
NSUI retained the secretary’s position, with law student and an international hockey player Ashish Lamba defeating ABVP’s Yogit Rathi by 2,053 votes. This was the lowest victory margin among the four posts.
“Our fight is against the ideology of ABVP. We have gone to the students and exposed the ABVP’s disgusting activities and actions. Students have extended their trust on me and I will work hard. I will work to improve hostel facilities and ensure that the Rs 100 crore the university receives as an institute of eminence (IoE) is distributed evenly for the development of all colleges,” said Lamba.
Congress party and senior leaders such like J P Agarwal congratulated Lamba on his victory.
ABVP’s women face, Shivangi Kharwal won the post of joint secretary securing 17,234 votes, defeating NSUI’s Abhishek Chaprana, who had received 14,320 votes.